Catching up

Well, the last few weeks went by really quickly. Welp. I kept meaning to blog…but also kept putting it off.

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In the middle of July I finished work at OPP and transferred to the New Haven Education project. The folks at OPP sent Jacqui and me off right. They even framed our end of service certificates and letters from President Obama for us in really classy frames. I definitely miss all of my OPP coworkers, especially the ones I shared an office with. I don’t think I went a day with out laughing. My year of service with OPP had its ups and downs, and leaving early was definitely bittersweet, but now I can look back with my first AmeriCorps year with pride.

When I transferred to New Haven Education, I hadn’t yet finished a full year of service. To be a VISTA Leader, you need to have successfully completed a full service year. As a result, I worked as a Leader Apprentice of sorts, working on planning out my Leader year. In addition to my Leader duties, I’m handling some of the communications duties for the project.

I also got to visit all of our sites and meet the group of VISTAs. We definitely have a great group for this next year!

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Then came my birthday.  Unfortunately, I had to work, but my coworkers bought me a plant for my desk and threw me a little birthday bash.

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My supervisor also brought me flowers! My friends also treated me right with a surprise birthday, featuring more flowers, cake, and copious amounts of alcohol. Basically, I’m stocked for the next year.

My good friend Carrie also came home from England!  I was so excited to see her after 8 long months.  I hadn’t seen her since New Year’s! Carrie will also be serving as an Episcopalian Service Corps member in New Haven! I love just knowing that Carrie is back in Connecticut. Basically, seeing Carrie was my favorite birthday present!

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I spent the last couple weeks watching the Olympics nonstop (I am in love with Nathan Adrian and Ryan Lochte. And also obsessed with the McKayla Maroney is not impressed meme, but I digress). I also officially started my second term of service as a VISTA Leader last Monday.  I ran my first on site orientation for three incoming VISTAs and I think it went pretty well!

I have also developed a falafel addiction. If you’re ever in New Haven, stop by Mamoun’s on Howe Street. The falafel is to die for. It’s also really cheap. And open to 3:00am. You seriously will not regret it.

TL:DR Life is good and I’m so excited for this next year of service!

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I’m going back to the start

So I’m back from a great weekend! My wonderful friend Tina was on the East Coast this weekend, so Sarah, Meghan, and I all met up with her in Worcester! We spent some time hanging out on the Holy Cross campus and reminiscing about our HC days.

There have been so many changes on campus in the year since we graduated! HC got rid of a set of rickety old stairs that my friends and I dubbed “the creepy stairs” and replaced them with a classy cement (I think) staircase complete with benches. The Hogan quad also got a major upgrade.

Say what you will, but Holy Cross has probably the most beautiful campus I’ve ever seen.

 I didn’t really take too many pictures of the campus after graduation, so I aggressively Instagrammed the hell out of everything I saw.  I just love showing off my alma mater!

Afterwords, we got Vietnamese! I had pho for the first time, and now I’m obsessed. Luckily for me,  Wallingford recently got a Vietnamese restaurant!

Finally,  only a few days after our visit, Father Brooks, the President Emeritus of the College, passed away. Father Brooks was instrumental in shaping Holy Cross into the school it is today.  He led the way in integrating the school when many other voices were against him, and played a huge part in the school going coed.  Journalist Diane Brady even wrote Fraternity about several black men Father Brooks personally recruited and mentored at Holy Cross, including Clarence Thomas,  Stanley Grayson, Ted Wells, Ed Jones, and Eddie Jenkins. The book is a great read even if you’re not a Holy Cross alum, because Brady showed the school for what it was back in the day, warts and all.

Without Father Brooks,  many of my classmates definitely would not have had the experience we had at Holy Cross.  I never had the pleasure of meeting or taking a class with Father Brooks, but he played a huge role in developing Holy Cross into the amazing Jesuit liberal arts college it is today.

Black bean & mango quinoa salad

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NOM!

I made an amazing quinoa salad this weekend thanks to Eclectic Recipes!

  • 2 cups quinoa
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 mango, diced
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 small bunch of cilantro, chopped fine
  • the juice of 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Cook quinoa according to package directions with water. Add all other ingredients to a large bowl. When quinoa is cooked, add to large bowl and stir to combine. Let set for about 15 minutes before serving so that the flavors can combine.

I did make a couple changes to the recipe as written. I cooked the quinoa with chicken stock,used some roasted red peppers instead of fresh pepper, and mixed some red and white quinoa together.  I also added a couple cloves of garlic to the chicken stock because I am obsessed with garlic.

All in all, the end result was BANGIN’. Even my mom liked it and she hates quinoa.  I’ve had leftovers for lunch for the past two days and I’m still not tired of it.

I am an Instagram Addict